Home / Brandon Odoi / ACC Championship: Clemson v. Miami | The Rookie and the Vet

ACC Championship: Clemson v. Miami | The Rookie and the Vet

CHARLOTTE– Both the Clemson Tigers and Miami Hurricanes arrived at Bank of America Stadium on Friday to walk through for the final time before Saturday’s 8 PM Atlantic Coast Conference Championship.

Miami did so fresh off of a flight from Coral Gables, arriving at the program’s first ever ACC Championship game.  Clemson, the reigning ACC and National Champion, is playing in it’s fifth ACC Championship and third in a row.  Both teams come in sporting first year starters at quarterbacks who are both juniors. Miami’s Malik Rosier is a redshirt junior, Kelly Bryant is a true junior who sat behind one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in ACC history in Deshaun Watson.

However, as many similarities as there are, these two teams couldn’t be more different.

Clemson is a ‘been there, done that type’ of team and it showed Friday.  The team got off the bus sporting business attire and walked through the tunnel and on to the field and had a quiet confidence.  Sure, there were kids going live on Facebook, some Snapchat activity and of course some Tweets but by-in-large it seemed like a veteran group taking another stroll along a familiar terrain.

“We’ve had great experience this year in big games. It’s not like we can say, Okay, we have ACC Championship experience. Well, a lot of those guys with that experience aren’t here any more.
We’ve got some guys, and I think they understand that. The same things that win all those other games, it
takes that to win this game. So that’s what we focus on. We don’t really get caught up in the magnitude of the moment or make one game bigger than the other. We just get ready to try to go play well, get a good plan.” –Dabo Swinney, head football coach Clemson Tigers

Miami didn’t look spooked, but there was certainly a newness to their demeanor. Miami hasn’t had a game of this kind of significance in the Mark Richt era. The closest thing to it was a bowl victory in Orlando last December during the Russell Athletic Bowl.


Notwithstanding, the expectation from everyone including Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is that Miami will compete at the highest level on Saturday.  Richt says experience is the best teacher.

“Being used to winning at a high level, being used to being a champion, not only an ACC champion but a national champion, playing in two national championship games in a row, it doesn’t get any bigger than that.  Yeah, they’ve all experienced that. Experience is a great teacher. We all know that. We’re just
experiencing some things for the first time as a group of coaches and players. It should be an advantage to
have lived through those types of moments.” –Mark Richt, head football coach Miami Hurricanes

About Brandon Odoi

Brandon Odoi is a tenured journalist. He's covered youth football since 8th grade, high school football since 2009 and began covering college football in 2011 as a beat writer for the University of Miami Athletic programs. In 2011, he founded Football Hotbed a national multi-media platform for football across the country. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and spent his first five years as a professional working at ABC Television Network, ending his career as a producer in Miami. He's married with two sons and resides in South Florida.

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